We all want to hire superstar sales people.  Finding one, however, is more difficult than you can imagine.

Here’s the key to spotting and hiring a superstar salesperson.  Don’t be sidetracked by what he/she knows relative to products or industries, and don’t be blinded by how he or she looks.  Instead, concentrate on who he/she is.

These six qualities of character that mark superstar salespeople of any industry all describe who they are, not what they know.

Let’s consider each one.

The sixth and final quality is the most difficult to spot, and the quality which drives all the others to optimum use — PERSONAL MOTIVATION.

The best salespeople all have within them a drive to excel.

All of us are motivated at one time or another by different things.  And as sales managers and business owners we’re aware of the need to motivate our employees, especially our salespeople.  So we provide money, trips, bonuses, recognition of all types, fringe benefits, profit sharing, stability and security, involvement in decision-making, etc., as exterior means of motivation.  By “exterior” I mean motivation that comes from outside the person that is directed or provided by someone or something else. And, depending on the person and the circumstances, all of these work to some degree or another.

But that’s not the kind of motivation I’m talking about. The star salespeople are relatively unaffected by the presence or absence of any of these exterior factors.  Their motivation, their reasons for getting up at 5 AM instead of 6:30, for making that extra call at 4:30 on Friday afternoon, for taking that sales training class on Tuesday evenings, for thinking about that little account that nobody else wants, etc., is an interior, personal drive to succeed, to be the best, to excel.

The best salespeople are beyond the reach of all these programs of exterior motivation because they march to the beat of an internal drum, an inherent hunger for success no matter what the circumstances.

It’s that internal motivation that lights the fire that distills all the other qualities.  And that drive to succeed is far more potent than any of the other qualities.  Given a strong internal motivation, I believe that sooner or later the individual who is driven to success will succeed.  It’s only a matter of time.

Now, couple that internal drive with an ability to learn, an image of success and achievement, a high energy level, personal integrity, and add the ability to create strong business relationships, and you have the ingredients of a superstar salesperson.

One additional thought.  I have been writing about these qualities as if they exist in an either/or mode. Either they have integrity or they don’t. Either they have the ability to learn or they don’t.  The truth is that, as with any quality of character, these are resident within a person in various degrees.  It’s not a matter of having these qualities, it’s a question of to what degree they have them.

One of the best ways to judge this is to make up a simple 0 to 10 scale for each of these six qualities.  Then rate your prospects along that line in each of the areas. For example, you might rank one prospect a 7 in integrity, a 5 in energy level, a 6 in ability to learn, a 10 in relationship building, and a 4 in personal motivation.  This will give you some way to compare your perceptions of a number of prospects, while keeping you focused on these important qualities.

And should you find a perfect 10, hold onto your hat, because he/she’s going to make it interesting and profitable.

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